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Who Holds the Nails?
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This is an Edit version

Who Held the Nail?
Version 3.0 8/30/01
Outside Edit Version
An Original Script by Legio VI

Act 1

Scene 1 A Road in Capernaum

Jesus enters with the disciples, Mary Magdalene, and followers from the front double doors (Floor Stage Right (FR))Mary Magdalene in the middle of the crowd (behind the disciples, and before the people extras). Jesus stops about six pews from the back doors, turns to teach the audience:

JESUS: Therefore everyone who heads these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who builds his house on the rock.

Jesus and the people all exit the rear of the church and wait in the Sanctauary Foyer (SF).

Centurion Cornelius enters stage upper right (UR), Centurion Justus stage upper lef(UL)t. They greet each other center stage low (ground level).

CORNELIUS: Justus! It does me good to see you old friend! (Salutes)

JUSTUS: (Returns salute) It is good to see you as well!

CORNELIUS: Promoted to First Centurion! It looks good on you I think. Hard to believe I can remember you as a boy. What brings you to Capernaum? Secret mission for the Emporer, or are you checking up on your faithful minions?

JUSTUS: Not hardly! The Governor is throwing a party for a senatorial delegation from Rome, and he wishes to have all the best entertainers in Judea. I have been sent to find the dancer, Miriam of Migdal. Do you know of her?

CORNELIUS: Indeed, she is by far the greatest dancer this land has produced. She rivals the dancers in Rome. We saw her perform at the Antonia when Pilate became Proconsul of Judea.

JUSTUS: I remember! But I have been unable to find her! She no longer dances at the house of Abenadar, they say she just left one day and never came back. Got some religion or something what a waste! I am sure she will dance for Pilate!

CORNELIUS: I know nothing of her Justus, perhaps she has just moved on.

JUSTUS: Perhaps, but you know these Jewish! They tend to stay close to home. Even those that will give us the time of day get religion when they get old and soft. Pilate will certainly be disappointed if I do not find her, after all, it is my first official duty as First Centurion! Enough of my business, how have you been? How is your century getting along?

CORNELIUS: Fine, fine. You know we were in Caesarea when you arrested BarAbbas during the rebellion in Judea, so my men missed the fight. This land fascinates me! So many years of history. And their teachings! Have you read their Torah?

JUSTUS: (Disdainfully) Those scribbles from the mud, No.

CORNELIUS: Simply fascinating! (Jesus and the Crowd reenter the aisle from the The Sanctuary Foyer (SF) and walk toward the centurions.) They have a history before Rome was even a mud hut, and a God that performed marvelous feats. As to what brings me Well, he does.(Points to Jesus)

JUSTUS: That Jewish teacher?

CORNELIUS: Yes, the Rabbi Jesus. But I believe he is more than a teacher Justus. I have come because Spurio is ill, and this man has a gift of healing.

JUSTUS: Spurio? A faithful servant he has been, but tell me, surely you are not still searching for a god? Isnt Mithras good enough for you? When will you understand there are no gods even if they are, why would they care for us. Did the gods help the Parthians when we overran their country? Did they save the armies of Egypt? Did the Gods of Rome protect Varus us from the German barbarians? You only escaped through luck my friend, and I because of you. Cornelius, (condescendingly) it is this dependence on gods that has kept you a lower ranking Centurion. You should be wearing the bronze Helmet

CORNELIUS: You know rank has never concerned me Justus (to Jesus, moves up the center aisle toward Christ) Rabbi! Lord! (Jesus faces the Centurions) Spurio, My trusted servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering!

JESUS: I will come and heal him.

CORNELIUS: (Kneeling) Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, go and he goes; and that one come and he comes. I say to my servant, do this and he does it.

JESUS: (Reaches down to help Cornelius to his feet. Astonished to crowd) I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith! Many will come from the east and west and will take their places at the feast of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth! (to Cornelius) Go. Your servant is healed.

Cornelius starts to kneel again, but is stopped by Justus

CORNELIUS: Thank you Lord!

JUSTUS: Come, Cornelius, you have made enough of a fool of yourself! Come now and I will forget to tell the Governor of this! (Pulling Cornelius away, Justus hustles Cornelius down the aisle)

JESUS: (Loudly, with authority) Justus!

JUSTUS: That is First Centurion to you!

JESUS: Justus I forgive you.

JUSTUS: Forgive me (laughing)?! Enough of this. I do not need your forgiveness! Though I may need the Governors if you do not disperse now! This is becoming an unlawful assembly.

JESUS: We will go. (to crowd) I tell you all, each has his part to play. He knows not what he will do but he is forgiven. Jesus turns to leave, then stops, he approaches Justus and hands him a small bag containing three large nails. He then turns to leave. He is followed by the crowd, except for Mary Magdalene, who hangs back. As Justus and Cornelius walk off, Justus turns and sees Mary Magdalene wearing a large pullover covering that conceals her tattoos and dancers costume.

JUSTUS: Wait! You! (pulling the cloak of MM away, still holding the bag) Are you not Miriam of Midgal? Speak up woman, I have sought you all over the city. Pilate desires you to dance! (Pause) You say nothing? Speak!

MARY MAGDALENE: That name no longer has meaning for me noble sir my new name is Mary, whom they call the Magdalene.

JUSTUS: I doubt Pilate will care what name you use come. We will pay you well!

MARY MAGDALENE: I cannot sir. I follow the Rabbi Jesus. He is my master now. It is through him that I received my new name through him I am renewed.

JUSTUS: Come, come my little Jewess! (Pulling at her arm) The time to get religious is when you are old and fat! Not in your prime!

MARY MAGDALENE: I cannot sir he is the Messiah. He is my messiah! He showed me the truth about my ways, he cast those demons out of me, and then forgave me for allowing them in. I follow him now, and I no longer wish to be part of my old life. I must go (Mary pulls away, grabs her cloak).

JUSTUS: Wait! You refuse to dance for the Governor? This Jesus has some power over you doesnt he.

MARY MAGDALENE: He has power over us all First Centurion. He is the Messiah. I must go!

Mary rushes after Jesus, exits thru Sanctuary Foyer. Centurions begin walking back to the Center Stage Upper.

JUSTUS: (to Cornelius, disgusted, hands on hip) Well I hope you are happy. Your Rabbi Jesus is causing trouble for me and for Pilate. He will want to know why I failed to bring the woman I will have no choice but to report this now.

CORNELIUS: I dont understand this Justus. But I know you have your part to play. Tell the Governor what you must, I have nothing to be ashamed of. And when the time comes

JUSTUS: What time?

CORNELIUS: When the time comes, remember he already forgave you. (Salutes) Strength and Honor.

JUSTUS: (Returns salute) Strength and honor

CORNELIUS: (As he turns to leave) Justus, what did he give you?


CORNELIUS: What is in the bag?

Justus looks in the bag.

JUSTUS: Nails Why would he give me nails? Who can understand the mind of a Jew.

Lights dim, Centurions exit stage upper right and upper left.

Scene 2: A Hillside in Judea

(Jesus is teaching from the Baptismal area, disciples, extras, are seated around the stage listening. Mary, Martha, and Mary Magdalene are seated near the center stage upper they are listening to Jesus teachings.)

JESUS: The Passover approaches, the time has come for the lamb to return to Jerusalem to accomplish that which has been foretold. He will suffer many things at the hands of the elders, priests, and teachers of the law. The lamb must be killed in atonement, yet he shall live again. For as I have said, destroy this temple, and in three days I will rebuild it.

(Disciples and extras begin to whisper among themselves, confused, not understanding, except Mary Magdalene, who suddenly understands. She stands as if to address Jesus.)

MARY MAGDALENE: My Lord, what do you say?!

JESUS: (Continues as if he has not heard, but looks directly at her as he makes this address) If any would come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For who ever wants his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. (Jesus motions for his disciples to stand they begin to exit thru the Baptismal, as he reaches the exit, he turns and says) What good is gaining the world, if you lose your soul!

(Jesus, disciples, and extras exit, Mary the mother and Martha get up to leave, but Mary Magdalene stops them saying:)

MARY MAGDALENE: Did you hear what he said? I am concerned the time must be soon.

MARTHA: The time for what? Do you think he will declare himself the Messiah?

MARY MAGDALENE: Dont you see? Am I the only one to hear what he says. Destroy this temple in three days and I will rebuild it! Dont you see Martha? Mary, surely you see it! His own mother! It isnt the temple! It isnt the building! It is he that will be destroyed! He is the temple!

MARTHA: Control yourself Mary, you are speaking rashly. You have not followed the Rabbi long. You will learn. All in due course. He is the Messiah. He has come to lead all Israel out of bondage.

MARY THE MOTHER: (very calm) All will be as the Lord desires it to be.

MARY MAGDALENE: You expect a General to throw out Rome? He is the messiah, but he comes to free us from the bondage within. No one! No ones sees! You dont see! They are blinded! Peter, James, John, even they do not see it! His kingdom is not of this world I will be betrayed destroyed and raised up It isnt the temple!

MARTHA: See what Mary Magdalene? What do you keep going on about?

MARY MAGDALENE: (Sings Mary Did You Know)

(As Mary finishes the song, Martha looks sarcastic, Mary the mother is crying)

MARY MAGDALENE: Do you see it now It is so clear to me. I see the plan of the Lord.

MARTHA: (Defensively as she stands to leave) I see the Dancer Miriam of Migdal speaking out of turn! You havent been around long enough to understand him! Destroy the Messiah. It is ridiculous Come Mary, we must go

MARY THE MOTHER: (still sitting and crying) I dont know Martha. Some times I see Gods plan so clearly, then other times I wonder. He is my son, but he has some duty to perform for his true father Mary the Magdalene could be right.

(Lights drop as Marys last word is spoken)

Scene 3: Justus Charged (Starts on the Pilates Judgement chair set. During the conversation, Justus and Pilate proceed down the steps and finish up near the back of Aisle Center (AC)).

JUSTUS: You summoned me sir?

PILATE: Justus, I read you report on Capernaum with much interest. Particularly the part about this Rabbi Jesus and his affect on the weak. My spies tell me he has the Jews and the Temple in an uproar.

JUSTUS: Based on what I saw sir, I would say he has a power only over women and the weak-minded

PILATE: (Interrupting) I doubt your friend Centurion Cornelius would agree.

JUSTUS: as I was about to say, and those who seek a God.

PILATE: And what of you Justus? Who do you say this rabbi is?

(Pilate and Justus walk to main stage, down steps, up center aisle during remainder of the conversation.)

JUSTUS: They say he has the gift of healing, but I suspect foul play. Even we Romans have magicians who use slight of hand to appear to be more than they are. Whatever he can do, he is a man sir, nothing more but one with the power to cause trouble. A charlatan. I suspect his trickery will be exposed soon enough.

PILATE: He should be watched then One with the power to influence a Roman Centurion could be of concern. Have we a pretext to bring him in for questioning?

JUSTUS: None that I have been able to find. He walks a fine line, but stays on the legal side of it. He is a thorn in the side of the Jewish High Priest Caiaphas.

PILATE: So he is not all bad eh? Does he speak against Caesar? What of his taxes? Are they paid?

JUSTUS: I have already looked into it. He has not spoken out against Rome yet As for their taxes, apparently one Simon Bar Jonas paid taxes for the group in

PILATE: Group? What group!?

JUSTUS : He has a loyal following of a number of men and women. The dancer Miriam of Migdal is among them.

PILATE: This following of his concerns me Justus. After the attacks by Barabbas we cannot afford any disturbance, let alone insurrection! This is why I planned to crucify Barabbas and his men at the Passover. Caesar will not tolerate another insurrection in Judea, and I hoped the crucifixion would send a message (Pause, Pilate rubs his chin) Watch him Justus, and his group. We must not allow a disturbance during their Passover. See if the temple has any thoughts on the subject. If the Sanhedrin moves against him it may force our hand, but I dont like Caiaphas getting too comfortable either. He is the one who informs on me to Caesar. Keep me advised.

Scene 4: Justus and the Sanhedrin

The Sanhedrin is in session, they are talking about Jesus, Justus marches in, two temple guards try to stop him, but cannot, interrupting the assembly.

The Sanhedrin murmurs, disturbed at this intrusion by Rome, pointing, whispering.

CAIAPHAS: Centurion, I must protest. The Sanhedrin are in special council now, an act protected by decree of Caesar Tiberius against interruption by Rome

JUSTUS: I am here as a friend Caiaphas I wish to address your council on the Jesus Situation. (The Sanhedrin look shocked. Justus looks around) But it is best for all if we agree now this meeting did not take place.

CAIAPHAS: (Thinks for a moment, then shakes his head in agreement) Scribes! Leave us, Guards, bolt the doors behind you. (Scribe and Malchus get up and leave, Caiaphas dismisses the Guards, who leave, close the Sanctuary Foyer (SF) doors and stand guard in front of them).

CAIAPHAS : There will be no record now First Centurion.

JUSTUS: I have been charged to investigate this man Jesus. I must know what you know about him?

NICODEMUS: He is a learned teacher, gifted Rabbi, and healer from

CAIAPHAS: (interrupting) Silence Nicodemus! He is a false prophet, nothing more. We have just voted to deny him the Passover lamb.

NICODEMUS: (As he leaves the assembly) I will not be part of this Caiaphas! I will not! (storms off stage, Exits Aisle left, must knock on the SF doors to get the guards to open them.))

CAIAPHAS: (referring to Nicodemus leaving) As you can see, His actions are dangerous and against the temple, even some on the High Council are affected. What is Romes interest?

JUSTUS: Peace, Caiaphas, Romes official interest is only peace. Pilate has charged me to be vigilant of the man. The Governor believes he could cause a disturbance during the Passover celebration. This must not be allowed.

CAIAPHAS: (Smiling smugly) Do not worry Centurion. We will handle this Jesus before the Passover.

JUSTUS: You have a plan?

CAIAPHAS: We have been approached by one of his followers. A dissatisfied disciple. With the proper encouragement, we believe he will turn the blasphemer over to us.

JUSTUS: And you trust him?

CAIAPHAS: Of course not, but, he came to us, and by our law, he must keep his end of the bargain, or forfeit his life.

JUSTUS: A plot to ensnare Jesus and his follower! Worthy of true citizens of the Roman Empire! Excellent Caiaphas, when the time comes, Rome will not stand in your way, Indeed, call on my men if you must, your temple guards are unreliable at best, they allowed me in against their orders. They are weak, and this man preys on the weakminded. I will leave you to your meeting now (Justus turns to leave, then stops and asks) This fool who betrays his master, what is his name?

CAIAPHAS: He is called Judas Iscariot.

Justus exits Floor Stage Right (FR). Sanhedrin Exit Stage Lower Left (LL). Lights go down as they exit.

Scene 5: The Anointing

(Jesus and the disciples are eating Lunch on a hillside in the area before the baptismal. Mary Magdalene enters from the Sanctuary Foyer (SF) carrying a jar or alabaster like container. She is distraught, crying, wearing black cloak, and wailing)

MM: My Lord! My Lord! I have heard your words Tell me I am wrong (She pours oil over the head of Jesus then falls to her knees and begins anointing the feet of Jesus. The Disciples look shocked, Judas stands and says: )

JUDAS: (Standing, getting indignant) Why this waste! This perfume is worth a years wages! It could have been sold at a good price and the money used to feed the poor. (the other disciples shake their head as if in approval of what Judas has said).

PETER: Besides that Lord, this Woman

JESUS: (Interrupting Peter)Is forgiven. (To all disciples) Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing! The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. (MM wails Nooo!!!!)

I tell you the truth, wherever the Gospel is taught, what she has done will be told in memory of her.

(Judas snorts, stomps off stage Lower Left).

(Mary Magdalene sings __________ to Jesus)

Lights drop, Mary Magdalene exits down Aisle Right to the Sanctuary Foyer, still wailing. Jesus and Disciples exit Upper Stage Right (opposite of Judas).

Scene 6: The Entry into Jerusalem

(All house lights on, several children run down the aisles saying: He is coming! They pass out palm fronds, cloth streamers, and encourage the audience to welcome the Messiah. Justus enters stageUpper left and proceeds to Center Stage Upper, The Sanhedrin enter stage lower left, and stop at the front pew (Caiaphas in front). Jesus enters on a donkey, followed by his disciples, all extras, and Mary Magdalene, who still crys and looks distressed. Children run all around the church yelling the Messiah is coming! festival music plays.)

(Kids and extras sing: Hosanna in the Highest.)

(about of the way down the aisle, Caiaphas cries out: )

CAIAPHAS: Jesus! (music drops low, barely hearable) These people are calling you the Messiah! Tell them to shut up!

JESUS: If they remain silent, the very rocks will cry out! (Music kicks back up, Caiaphas, looking angered, stomps to stage left where he bumps into Justus, they say nothing, but exchange looks as they exit stage lower left.) (The procession continues, louder than ever, out the doors at floor stage right(FR)).

Lights go down.


At the beginning of the intermission, and offering may be taken up.

At the end of intermission, the ushers will serve communion to the people, who will be instructed to Wait upon the word of the Lord. We will use the sealed cups and wafers to avoid accidents in the dark and make it easier to serve quickly.

Act 2

Scene 1: Last Supper

Large table with disciples seated around it center stage (table and backdrop distinguishes it from the earlier anointing set). Simple rustic backdrop. They are eating and murmuring. Mary Magdalene is serving them. Suddenly Jesus gets loud:

JESUS: I tell you the truth. One of you will betray me. (All disciples except Judas, choke on there food, cries of) No Lord! It cannot be so! Not I! (Judas says nothing, looks dejected) (Mary Magdalene looks shocked, crumples to her knees, perhaps dropping the food).

PETER: (as the cries of not I die away, Peter touches Jesus right arm and says: )
Not I lord!

JESUS: The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written, but woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man. It would be better for him that he had not been born!

JUDAS: Is it I Lord?

JESUS: Yes, you have said so. (Judas leaves, exit stage lower left. Mary Magdalene sees this exchange, starts to follow Judas to stop him, but she looks at Christ and stops as he shakes his head no. She approaches the table to serve the bread and wine.)

JESUS: (watches Judas leave, closes eyes, says a prayer silently for the soul of Judas, then performs The Communion, motions to Mary Magdalene to bring the bread, takes bread from Mary Magdalene, and breaks it, passing it among his disciples. Waits until the audience is served. Jesus Stands and says this line to the audience) This is my body, which is broken for you. Take and eat. (The audience and Disciples do it. Jesus offers up the cup from Mary Magdalene: ) This is my blood, which is shed for you.

I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my fathers kingdom.

This very night you will fall away from me, for it is written so. Take and drink. (the Disciples do so. Mary Takes the cup and walks aside. As the scene continues, she too eats a bit of bread and drinks from the cup, silently praying)

(Jesus puts his hand on Peters shoulder and shakes his head as he exits stage upper right. The Disciples follow. Mary Magdalene starts to follow, then exits stage lower left after Judas.)

Scene 2: Judas and the Sanhedrin

Judas enter stage Lower left and walks to center stage lower.

Judas sings ___________________

(The Sanhedrin enters from the Stage Upper Left, walking down thru center stage upper to center lower stage as if leaving the assembly. Judas approaches Caiaphas)

JUDAS: High Priest!

CAIAPHAS: Judas! Gentlemen, allow me to introduce Judas Iscariot, one of the faithful

JUDAS: (Interrupting) What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?

CAIAPHAS: (Confers with a number of members and scribes) We will present you with thirty pieces of silver.

JUDAS: (Looks sullen, drops head) Lets do it.

(Scribe steps forward, gives Judas a bag, counts out thirty coins. Drops each one in slowly to hear the tink as they fall in).

JUDAS: (after the scribe finishes) Summon your temple guards and follow me.

CAIAPHAS: It shall be done, and we will have the help of Rome just in case there is trouble. Scribe, summon the First Centurion and his men. Have them meet us at the gates of the city! (yells) Guards! (Four grey clad, drab, and surly looking temple guards fall in behind Caiaphas and Judas. Judas leads the assembly down the aisle, slowly, mournfully, except for Caiaphas, who is beaming. They exit to the Sanctuary Foyer.)

Scene 3: Betrayal in the Garden.

(Lights drop, blue spotlight come up on Christ praying center stage upper, the three disciples sleep at the bottom of the steps (Center stage lower). Jesus is crying, praying to God)

JESUS: My father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.

(Jesus stands, still burdened, he sees the disciples sleeping)

Are you still sleeping and resting?

(Judas, Caiaphas, Guards, Scribes, and others enter from the Sanctuary Foyer. Justus and the Roman Soldiers follow at a distance)

Look! (Pointing to Judas) the hour is near, and the son of man is betrayed into the hands of the sinners. Rise, let us go. Here comes my betrayer!

JUDAS: (walks up to Jesus, kisses him on the left cheek) Hail, Master

(The Temple Guards step forward to arrest Jesus, Peter draws a sword and strikes the Malchus, servant of the high priest. Jesus yells: )

JESUS: Stop! (Guards fall down, everyone else freezes, the Sanhedrin members recoil, even Justus down the aisle is shoved back) I am in control here! Put away your sword!
(Justus and his men move forward, past the temple guards, Peter and the disciples run, as Justus gets to Jesus, he (Jesus) holds up his hand, and the Romans stop. Jesus picks up the ear of the servant and heals him. Justus stands in awe, unable to move, looks at the Servants ear, Caiaphas yells: )

CAIAPHAS: Arrest him! (The closest two Roman soldiers grab Jesus and bind him. Justus stands in awe looking at the Servant and Jesus. The assembly except for Justus and Judas exits stage Upper left. Judas, runs up the aisle. Halfway up the aisle he bumps into Mary Magdalene who has entered from the Sanctuary Foyer.)

MARY MAGDALENE: Judas, have you seen the Messiah?

JUDAS: Hah! What? Messiah? No, I have seen no Messiah.(Starts to walk off toward the Sanctuary Foyer)

MARY MAGDALENE: Judas! What has happened? What have you done?!

JUDAS: I did nothing. It is over! It is finished!! ( he rushes out the rear of the church through the Sanctuary Foyer. Mary stands alone mid- aisle center )

MARY MAGDALENE: What has happened! What is finished, Did you see it? (to crowd) Did you? (Asks Justus) Have you seen my Jesus? (Justus shakes his head as if coming out of a stupor)
JUSTUS: I saw someone He healed that man but that isnt possible is it It just isnt possible, Yes Miriam of Migdal, I saw someone but I do not know who he is (leaves abruptly, following the assembly stage upper left)

MARY MAGDALENE: (To crowd as she exits the church) Have you seen my Jesus?
( Keeps asking through the sanctuary foyer walks out of the church asking what has happened of members of the audience)

During this scene break the Cross/Whipping post will be placed on stage. The Whipping post will double as the cross. See instructions for mounting (attached)

Scene 4: Trial before Pilate, The Offer to Release, The Scourging
(Pilate is sitting on the judgement seat flanked by Roman Guards. Justus enters through the Sanctuary Foyer of the church)

JUSTUS: Governor! Governor!

PILATE: Yes Centurion.

JUSTUS: The Sanhedrin have returned with the prisoner that my men arrested and turned over to them. They are asking for an audience.

PILATE: Jesus? I thought they were handling this! Can they decide nothing on their own. Why have they brought him to me?

JUSTUS: It is my understanding that they have found him guilty of treason against Rome. They wish him executed, a sentence you must authorize.

PILATE: Seems rather harsh for a teacher. What do you think Justus. You investigated him. Is he a dangerous man? Did he resist arrest?

JUSTUS: He always walked a fine line, and he offered no resistance. In fact I think I saw him No, he is a man, nothing more, with the power to sway the masses! That makes him potentially dangerous (To himself) unless he really is more than just a man

PILATE: Careful Justus. You sound as if you question your own beliefs. I would like to speak to this man who affects my First Centurion so. Bring him to me alone so I can question him.

(Justus motions to the Sanctuary Foyer returns. Two Roman Guards escort Jesus into the Judgement chamber. At this point he is only disheveled as he has not yet been seriously beaten. Justus places Jesus before Pilate. But when he tries to shove him to his knees, he cannot, Pilate notices this, but waves him off.)

PILATE: Jesus I presume? (no answer, pausing between each sentence as if expecting an answer.) The Sanhedrin certainly do not like you. Of course I do not particularly like the Sanhedrin. What have you done? Do you spread sedition against Rome? Do you plot rebellion? I hear you do miracles. Show me some, that I might believe! There is always room for one more god at the temple in Rome. Tell me, (whispering to Jesus ear) are you the King of the Jews?

JESUS: You have said it.

PILATE: I grow tired of this lack of conversation. (to Justus) Bring in the accuser! (Caiaphas and a scribe enter from the Sanctuary Foyer of the church)

PILATE: Caiaphas, what charges do you bring against him?

CAIAPHAS: He is a blasphemer, he plots against Rome. He has declared himself a king over Israel, and we have no king but Caesar.

PILATE: (to Jesus) What do you say to these charges? (Jesus does not answer) You have no response? Do you not realize that your life is in my hands? I grow tired of your silence. Have you nothing to say?

PILATE: (To Justus) Open the gates, I must address the people. (to Soldier who exits stage Upper Left) Bring Barabbas to me. (All Sanhedrin, temple guards, and extras move down the aisle from the Sanctuary Foyer except the Disciples, Mary the Mother, and Martha. Mary Magdalene follows at the back. The crowd is noisy, rowdy, until Pilate raises his hand to address them. Several of the extras will play the part of Barabbas followers, inciting the audience to scream Barabbas at the appropriate time, passing out Pro-Barabbas tracks, perhaps and plastic coins to pay the people to yell Barabbas name when the time comes.)

(Pilate Stands. Raises his hand, and the crowd gets silent)

PILATE: Your Sanhedrin has turned this man over to me for judgement, but I find no fault in him. I would let him go with a simple scourging, but it is my custom to release a prisoner to you for your Passover, so I ask you now (Soldier returns from stage upper left with Barabbas, looking MEAN and shoves him to the ground alongside Jesus). Who would you have me release, Jesus, in whom I find no fault, or the Robbing and Murdering BarAbbas, whom I and the Sanhedrin have tried and convicted for crimes against the Jews and Romans?

PEOPLE: Barabbas! Barabbas (Extras gesticulate to audience to get them involved, starts up a Baraabas chant, continues until Pilate raises his hand to silence the crowd. Mary Magdalene is the only voice screaming Jesus, running frantically)

PILATE: (Astonished) And what would you have me do with Jesus, who is called the Christ?

PEOPLE: Crucify him! Crucify him! (Pilate raises his hand to silence the crowd.)

PILATE: But I find no fault in him!

PEOPLE: Let his blood be on us! Crucify him!

PILATE: Bring my hand washing bowl! (Soldier brings a small silver bowl of water, Pilate symbolically washes his hands) Very well, but I wash my hands of this matter, let his blood be on you all! (To soldiers) Release Barabbas (Soldiers shove Bar Abbas into the crowd, he runs down the aisle and out the church through the Sanctuary Foyer). Justus! See to it that this man is scourged. Then prepare for the crucifixion. (Crowd leaves the courtyard)

JUSTUS: It will be done Governor. (to soldiers) Find Centurion Cornelius, Bring him to me. I will watch the prisoner. (Soldiers exit Stage Upper Right, leaving only Justus and Jesus onstage. Justus waits until the crowd is gone to start the next line).

JUSTUS: Will you talk to me? Are you a God? I saw what you did in the Garden. No man can heal a wound that way! It could not have been slight of hand, and this affect you have on people, even my own men, even me! Explain it to me! (Jesus does not answer) Tell me now! Do you not see what is happening? You are to be crucified! What God would die at the hands of man? Release yourself, as only a God could.

I thought not. Just a man eh? I believed in Gods once, until I watched German Barbarians destroy Three Legions. I was twelve, My father served under Varus there. I only escaped by hiding under a dead soldier. My father What God could allow that? Answer me! We paid our dues, we offered sacrifices. But the Gods allowed the barbarians to destroy us. Cornelius was just a young soldier then, only six years older than me. He found me after the battle under my fathers body, saved me, and raised me as his equal. 37,000 Romans died in those woods so did part of me. What God allows this to go on. And Cornelius, how can a man have this effect on him?

Have you no answer? I almost dared to believe. You are just a man. Just a weak, dying man. Cornelius loves you, even believes you are a god! But I know now you are just a man and I hate you for it. (Justus slaps Jesus)

(Soldiers return with Cornelius from Stage Upper Right)

JUSTUS: (to soldiers, pointing to Jesus) Bind him (Hands whip to Cornelius) Scourge him! I will prove to you he is just a man! (Soldiers finish tying Christ to post, Cornelius raises the whip, but does not strike)

JUSTUS: Beat him! You will see, he bleeds as you or I! Just a man! There is no God here!

CORNELIUS: I cannot.

(Justus shoves Cornelius out of the way, grabs the whip)

JUSTUS: I will show you myself! (Whips Christ once) See Cornelius! He bleeds, like you or I. He is not a God! (to Jesus) I knew you were a fraud.

(Justus continues the scourging as the house lights go down. When the lights go down, Justus hands the whip to Cornelius who finishes the lashing against the post, as Justus, Jesus, Roman Soldiers, Temple guards, and people exit Floor Stage Right and move to the Sanctuary foyer for the Via Delorosa scene. The whipping continues for a total of 39 strikes).

Scene 5: Road to Cavalry/Crucifixion (Via Delorosa)

Spotlight comes up on Cornelius, standing alone center stage. He is visibly upset, holding the whip, crying, sings Via Delorosa

As the second verse of Via Delorosa begins, the procession begins from the glass foyer. The whip sound carrying (yes, we need 2 whips), gradually the heckling gets louder, as they enter the church, Cornelius walks down the Aisle to meat them. He finishes the song from within the procession. Which proceeds to the stage for the crucifixion scene.

Christ is shoved to the ground. Justus watches stoicly, Cornelius is a wreck. The soldiers lay Christ on the cross.

JUSTUS: Let me hold the nails!

Lights drop (in the dark, Christ Stands and walks forward and is out of character for this song). A red spotlite comes up on Christ, who stands and sings Rise Again. Justus begins to hit the nail throughout the song, changing hands and to feet as appropriate. As Jesus finishes, two soldiers raise the cross which meets Jesus center stage, Justus removes Jesus cloak as the song ends.

Darkness falls, a blue spotlight comes up on the death scene

JESUS: Eloi! Eloi! Lamath Sabachtani!

Crowd murmurs, the name Elijah is mentioned, lights drop to signify darkness, moans and groans in the dark.

JUSTUS: Stand your ground men, it means nothing. An Eclipse Nothing more

CORNELIUS: (as if whispering to Justus) Justus, there is to be no eclipse today

JUSTUS: I know

Lights stay down several minutes, coughs, groans, moans, wails in the dark. Blue Spot come on Justus who is Speaking his thoughts

JUSTUS: This is not normal. Cornelius is right, there is no eclipse today. How could this happen. What if we are wrong! What if this man is more than he seems it does not seem possible, but what if he is? Could he have taken our sun? Can we kill a God? Do gods bleed? Surely this man is not a God? I must ask him again

Light drops on Justus, up on Mary Magdalene who speaks her thoughts

MARY MAGDALENE: I saw this. I knew. They expected a King, but they received a Savior. See how God thinks! We should have known, should have expected. I wish he didnt have to die, but he said he would come back. He must come back! I must make sure, I will ask him when the light comes back

Lights begin to come up. Justus and Mary Magdalene approach the cross. Jesus looks at them.

JESUS: It is finished.

Christs head falls, the lights drop again and a strobe light flashes to illustrate the earthquake. When the lights come back up Justus and Mary Magdalene are at the foot of the cross, hugging the feet of Jesus. Cornelius approaches, crying and touches Justus on the shoulder saying:

CORNELIUS: Justus, what have we done?

JUSTUS: We asked the wrong question! Dont you see! (to Mary Magdalene) You saw it didnt you The ear he healed, the sayings, the miracles our men reported, they were real werent they! The earthquake, the dark. We asked the wrong question Cornelius! We asked if he was God, he wasnt a God, he was the Son!

CORNELIUS: What are you saying Justus?

JUSTUS: Surely this man was the Son of God!

Lights go down.

Scene 6: Justus and Mary at the Tomb

Blue spotlight comes up on the Tomb, crickets chirp, it is nighttime. The temple guards stand around it. Mary Magdalene walks from the Sanctuary Foyer to just past halfway the aisle. Looking at the tomb. She is talking to herself

MARY MAGDALENE: It has been three days He always said three days. It must be today. What are those men doing? Still guarding my Lord? Even in death he finds no peace. Still it must be today

Justus walks up behind her silently having entered from the Sanctuary Foyer, she does not here him until he says:

JUSTUS: What is today? What is to happen today?

MARY MAGDALENE: (Frightened) Nothing sirwait I remember you, Centurion Justus. I think it was you! Were there when they crucified my Lord.

(From off stage, the song Were you There is sung or Mary Magdalene sings it.)

JUSTUS: I was there It was I who nailed him to the cross. Are you not angry?

MARY MAGDALENE: No Centurion. Had you refused, another would have done it.

JUSTUS: Why do you watch. You saw him die, as clearly as I?

MARY MAGDALENE: It isnt over yet I cannot explain, but I feel it inside.

JUSTUS: Feel what! For one moment I believed, but he proved to be nothing more than a man. I was right all along there are no gods.

MARY MAGDALENE: You are right, there is only one God.

JUSTUS: Hunh. And he let me Kill his son? I think not. I have duties to perform. (Sarcastically) Watch the stone little woman. Tell me when it moves. Tell me when your Jesus rises from the grave! (Justus exits out the back of the church.)

As Mary looks on, the spotlight gets brighter, the guards at the tomb stand and awake, they look and point to the sky. The Strobe begins flashing, as the guards grow terrified, Suddenly the stone rolls away, smoke and bright white light stream from the tomb. The guards throw down their spears and run out the back of the church through the Santuary Foyer. Mary approaches, she sees no one, then a figure in white appears.

ANGEL: I know who you are looking for. Fear not, for he has risen, just as he said, and as you foresaw! Go, and tell the Apostles.

Angel sings Jesus is Alive.

Mary turns and hurries down the aisle. She meets Justus running toward the tomb from the Sanctuary Foyer. He grabs her before she can run past.

JUSTUS: Mary! What has happened! What is wrong!

MM: Wrong! Nothing is wrong, Something is right! Oh Justus! Hes Alive! He has Risen! Jesus is alive!

Mary breaks free and runs out the back of the church (SF). Justus stands in shock. Cornelius runs from the back of the church (SF) to Justus trailed by all the Roman Soldiers.

CORNELIUS: Justus! What is wrong You sounded the alarm!

JUSTUS: The Guards! I saw them run Mary said that We must go to the tomb!

The soldiers, led by Justus approach the tomb, Justus approaches it. Examines the stone, goes in, comes out pale.

JUSTUS: Its true! What have I done? I killed the Son of God!

CORNELIUS: Justus, what are you talking about?

JUSTUS: Leave, take the men! He is risen! I alone will answer for our actions!

CORNELIUS: Justus! There is no answering! He forgave you! Remember, in Capernaum!

JUSTUS: How can any God forgive the murderers of his Son? It was I who swung the hammer, It was I who held the nails! I crucified Christ! I told you to leave! I will offer myself to him! I know how to appease the Gods!

CORNELIUS: Justus, No!

JUSTUS: (Draws his sword) Go, or I will kill you myself!

Cornelius and his men hurry back down the aisle. Justus sheaths his sword and approaches the tomb.

JUSTUS: I was so wrong!! I will give you my life, God of the Jews! Spare my men! They knew not what they did! It was me! I killed your Son.

Justus falls to his knees, draws his dagger and prepares to impale himself.

Mary Magdalene enters from the back of the church (SF), and rushes to Justus. She yells:


The dagger springs from Justus hand, he turns, and sees Mary Magdalene

JUSTUS: It was me! I swung the hammer! I must appease your God!

MARY MAGDALENE: No Justus! He isnt that type of god! He is a God of love!

JUSTUS: I do not understand. How could any God forgive what I have done! I held the nails that crucified his son. I beat him

MARY MAGDALENE: No, you are wrong. We have all held the nails. My people have looked for a Messiah for so long. One to free them from oppression. They look for a General to overthrow Rome. They forget there is always another Rome or Egypt or Assyria. Our vision is so small. He didnt come to free us from that! He came to free us from the oppression within! To show us how to love, and to forgive us for our sins!

JUSTUS: But how? I am no Jew. He cannot be my Messiah!

MARY MAGDALENE: My Jesus does not judge a man on who he is born, he judges him by how he lives, and by accepting his sacrifice.

JUSTUS: But why? Why does he love me? How could he forgive me?

Jesus enters from the back of the church, walks slowly up the aisle followed by a spotlight. Mary sees him first and cries out:

MARY MAGDALENE: My Lord! (Falls on the ground to worship, Justus kneels)

JUSTUS: Jesus, I do not understand what has happened, but I know now who you are Forgive me Son of God!

JESUS: Justus, (reaches down and brings Justus to his feet) I already have.

Justus, sings I Surrender all (the Clay Crosse song, not the classic one), as he finishes the song, he approaches Jesus who meets him on stage, kneels, and offers up his sword. Mary Magdalene kneels beside him.

Lights dim. Jesus, Justus, and Mary exit floor stage right. Pastor takes stage, talks about how each of us has held a nail. Nails are passed out to the congregation by the ushers. They are instructed to nail them to a cross erected in the Foyer as they leave.

Pastors Message and Sinners Prayer, and Cross instructions

Optional: Entire cast will sing ________________ as congregation leaves or total silence.


Cast: Singing: Cast Member ?:
Jesus (Supporting) Rise Again Paul Allen
Mary Magdalene (Lead) Mary Did You Know Tanya Bazzle
Centurion Cornelius (Supporting) Via Delorosa Troy Perry
Centurion Justus (Lead) I Surrender All Rusty Myers
Martha (Minor) Were You There Francis Bazzle
Mary The Mother (Minor)
Peter (Minor)
Judas (Minor)
Pilate (Supporting)
Caiaphas (Supporting)
Malchus (No lines)
Barabbas (No Lines)
Angel (Minor) Jesus is Alive

Temple Guards (4)

Roman Soldiers (4)

Sanhedrin (4)

Scribe (1)

Disciples (10)
People (4)
1) Helen Cleland (Head Extra)

Judgement Seat/Sanhedrin Chambers/Upper Room

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